photo: US Coast Guard/Creative Commons
In case you haven't heard the most Orwellian bit of news in the first week of April: Transocean, the company which was operating the Deepwater Horizon oil rig when it exploded and caused the largest oil spill in US history, just gave its executives multi-million dollar bonuses for... wait for it... its "best year in safety performance."
Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record. (Wall Street Journal)
Apparently safety performance accounts for one-quarter of execs bonuses and despite the Gulf Oil Spill received two-thirds of the maximum possible award for this section. You can read more about how Transocean managed to twist logic into a pretzel in this case at the WSJ link above.
In the righteous outcry over the wording of their proxy statement, Transocean lamely back peddled:
We acknowledge that some of the wording in our 2010 proxy statement may have been insensitive in light of the incident that claimed the lives of eleven exceptional men last year and we deeply regret any pain that it might have caused.
Failing to Acknowledge That There's More To Life Than Human Life Is Painful
I'm not at all convinced Transocean understands the impact of their actions. As unfortunate as the loss of workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon was, that isn't the part that most people are (or ought to be) angry about. It's the resultant oil spill that befouled beaches and fisheries, killed countless amounts of animals, and indeed has polluted the entire Gulf of Mexico food chain that's the problem.
It's the utter lack of recognition of the interconnectedness of life in this situation that is appalling--and in some way, perhaps unconscious, that actually contributed to the situation in the first place. If all that matters to safety is human loss of life and loss of product, then you have valued the rest of life (indeed the majority of it) at nothing. It is utterly self-centered and destructive, both self and generally.
Oh, And Transocean Moved to Switzerland to Avoid US Taxes
If you're not too outraged to continue reading, consider this nugget of information, which really exemplifies a colossal portion of what is wrong with the United States at the moment: Climate Progress reminds us that in 2008 Transocean moved its official headquarters from Houston to Switzerland to avoid paying US taxes.
More on the Gulf Oil Spill:
Transocean Strong-Armed & Detained Deepwater Horizon Explosion Survivors Into Keeping Quiet
BP's Deepwater Horizon Accident Report Disperses Blame, Glosses Over Big Questions